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Court Extends Neo-Nazis’ Prison Time

December 4, 2002

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OSLO, Norway (AP) _ An appeals court Wednesday extended the prison terms of two young neo-Nazis, ruling racial hatred motivated their killing of a black teenager.

Joe Erling Jahr, 21, and Ole Nicolai Kvisler, 23, were convicted in January of stabbing to death 15-year-old Benjamin Hermansen, who was black.

Jahr was sentenced to 18 years in prison, an increase of two years, and Kvisler to 17 years, up from 16. Jahr admitted to the stabbing in court but said he did not intend to kill the teenager.

Both men said they would appeal the Borgarting Appeals Court decision to the Supreme Court.

A third suspect, 19-year-old Veronica Andreassen did not appeal the three-year sentence she received at the trial for being an accessory.

All three were linked to the Boot Boys, a small neo-Nazi group in Norway, and according to the court lived or frequented an apartment decorated with Nazi symbols.

``That both had a racial motive is supported by the connection they had to neo-Nazi circles,″ the ruling said, adding that was taken into account in imposing higher sentences.

Hermansen’s murder on Jan. 26, 2001, shocked this nation of 4.5 million people, provoking tens of thousands of people to march against racism and violence.

The initial sentences _ which were well short of the maximums set by Norwegian law _ had outraged family and prosecutors, as well as anti-racism activists.

The appeals court also ordered Jahr, Kvisler and Andreassen to pay $45,270, plus interest, to Marit Hermansen, the victim’s Norwegian mother. Hermansen’s father was west African.

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